The Federated Co-operatives is launching a new online portal that gives its suppliers unprecedented access to data on how their products are selling at Co-op food stores across Western Canada.
“This is really quite revolutionary for us,” said Darrell McKee, centre store food director at Federated Co-operatives in Saskatoon. “It’s a big step forward for us to move our whole category management process ahead.”
Hundreds of Co-op food store suppliers received an explantion of the Co-op Vendor Insights Reporting Solution, in Saskatoon on Feb. 4, in advance of its scheduled launch by Feb. 24.
The web reporting service, developed with Brampton, Ont.'s ToolBox Solutions, will improve business intelligence and encourage more collaboration with suppliers by allowing them to see the same information as Co-op category management.
It also allows participating suppliers to create 10 different detailed reports that monitor everything from sales performance, to price and promotion tracking. Suppliers can also rank performance by SKUs, compare performance between stores and track store effectiveness at executing planograms.
McKee said the portal also allows suppliers the flexibility to “look at our total food business, or look at it by region, by different clusters of stores, rural stores, deli stores, pharmacy stores, different time periods and different categories.”
“As a vendor, you’ll have more data than you’ve ever had before.”
McKee acknowledged that the Co-op is “a little bit behind the industry” in category management of its food department.
“In the past, we were very siloed in that department,” with the buying group doing product assortment, marketing group doing promotions, pricing group doing pricing, and so on. “We’re trying to pull all that into a structured approach,” which will makes it easier for suppliers to deal with the Co-op.
The service is optional for suppliers “but obviously suppliers that work with us and get the data will be on the same page.”
It will also help the Co-op better understand its customers and how it’s doing in terms of product assortment and product launches, McKee said.